Tag Archives: diversity

The Process, Part 3: All Aboard! Now What?

People are usually thrilled when they start a new job. The ‘new job feeling’ is not unlike the ‘new date feeling’ or ‘the new car feeling’. It takes most of us a while to decide whether the date will become a mate and if the car is a keeper or a lemon.

Most new jobs have a three month ‘honeymoon’ period, although many people begin to feel disenchanted much sooner than that. On-boarding is the experience that a new employee has when they first come ‘on board’ at an organization. There are many studies that have demonstrated how critical on-boarding is. Large organizations invest billions of dollars in the on-boarding process for orientation sessions, training, lunches, dinners, etc. The success of these investments varies wildly and can determine how long an employee will stay with an organization, how productive and engaged they will be while they are there, and why they will leave.

Three Exclusive On-boarding Experiences:

1. A woman from India was recruited for a managerial IT position by a Fortune 50 company located in a rural area of a Southern state in the U.S.. She was a Hindu and a vegetarian. She expressed serious concern about becoming acclimated to her new culture as she had no idea where she might go to worship. The meals provided at the new hire orientation that she attended were inedible as every day only ham and egg on a biscuit was provided for breakfast. It was difficult for her to even find a meatless salad for lunch. She would eat at home early each morning and then not eat again until dinner each evening. Her cultural differences were never considered when she was hired and as a result she resigned within a month of her first day of employment.

This company could have saved a great deal of money, frustration and negative feelings if they had learned about their new employee’s culture during the hiring process and had provided cultural competency and inclusion training to those responsible for the orientation sessions and her on-boarding.

2. During a new hire orientation presentation, a representative of an organization’s Diversity Department pulled up a chair and sat down with his legs spread, one foot straddling his other knee such that the bottom of his shoe was facing the audience of new employees. Then he stood and put one foot on the chair. A few of the participants became visibly uncomfortable and were silent during the Q&A segment of the session. The presenter was at a loss as to the cause for the employees’ shift in engagement.

Even diversity professionals can make cultural gaffs if they are not provided with effective cultural competency education. Showing someone the bottom of your shoe, the lowest and dirtiest part of your body, is considered an insulting message in many Arabic countries. Putting your foot on a chair is considered insulting in some Asian cultures. The presenter thought that he was creating a relaxed atmosphere by using these gestures, but the result had the exact opposite impact. Intent vs. impact is a familiar concept in the field of discrimination that is often overlooked in the ‘softer’ field of diversity, sometimes with serious results.

3. A new manager orientation session included ‘partner’ interviews and introductions. The participants were paired-up and instructed to interview each other, asking 5 key questions, including the name of their favorite sports team. One interviewee told her partner that she was not interested in sports. He asked her where she was from and she replied, “New York City.” When he introduced her as a ‘Yankee Fan’ several other participants booed. She was highly embarrassed and complained to the facilitator at the end of the session who told her that she was overreacting and should not take the booing seriously.

Awareness of regionalism, including the impact of sports rivalries, is an important competency for trainers, especially those trusted to facilitate new hire orientation sessions. A new employee’s relationships are established during their on-boarding and any reinforcement of negative stereotypes can impact their success long afterward by creating barriers in those relationships.

How likely are these valuable new hires to become loyal, long term employees at the organizations described above, based on their on-boarding experiences? People need to be invited or included to really feel that they belong as part of an organization and that invitation must go beyond a job offer. Behaving in an inclusive manner is not necessarily intuitive, as we see with the diversity professional described above. Employees, especially supervisors, managers, and trainers need to be developed to be inclusive leaders with high levels of cultural competency if they are expected to know how to effectively create inclusive on-boarding experiences for new employees.

Why Does This Matter?

As the economy recovers, those who have not felt truly invited to become a part of a successful, innovative team will begin to seek out employers who will make them feel welcomed. Those employers understand that a high level of organizational cultural competency is required if they are to succeed and earn profits. Job seekers, especially ‘millennials’, are doing in-depth research on employers before accepting job offers and those who have negative on-boarding experiences are posting those experiences online. So, after investing a great deal of money in recruitment, hiring and on-boarding high potential employees, are you confident that they are being on-boarded inclusively? If not, isn’t it a good time to make that happen?

Onward!

~ Wendy
Let me know what you think.

wendy@inclusionstrategy.com

 

The Process, Part 2: Help Wanted – Diverse Candidates Only Need Apply

Scanning job postings one can find thousands of ads with the statement: “Diverse candidates encouraged to apply.” Employers also include the phrase: “An EOE Employer,” indicating that they do not discriminate in hiring. This certainly has not always been the case. There are many examples of discriminatory want ads to share with you and, although some of them may seem amusing now, they were quite serious when they were published. There are many books and articles on how to avoid legal problems when writing and publishing a want ad, but that is not the purpose of this blog entry.

I have heard variations on the following statement many, many times: “I cannot find any women who qualify for the job!” We can replace women with any other word describing a ‘diverse candidate’, meaning a person of color, a person with disabilities, et al. My response is always the same, “Where did you look?” This may sound flip, but it is an important and valid question to ask recruiters. For the past several years we have all been aware of recession conditions and high unemployment rates. There are many statistics showing that more women (of all races) than men have been earning college degrees in recent years.

(SOURCES: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2012) http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=72 The Rise of Women: The Gender Gap in Education and What It Means for American Schools, Russell Sage Foundation. http://www.russellsage.org/blog/rise-women-seven-charts-showing-womens-rapid-gains-educational-achievement)

There is still a gap in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields between white males and everyone else, but that creates a great opportunity: organizations can sponsor academic scholarships for diverse students at high school and undergraduate levels and begin their recruitment in the sixth grade. The earlier an employer recruits candidates for employment, the more successful they will be in hiring a more diverse range of employees. Employees who are in obscure jobs are thrilled when they go out and speak at local high schools and middle schools with the response of the children. This helps with employee engagement, recruitment and marketing. The children go home and tell their parents how great the presentation was by employees from the “Acme Company” and the parents get a subliminal ad for that company’s products.

One way to create a viable ‘pipeline’ of diverse candidates in STEM industries is to have strong internship programs. This is a terrific way to find out how competent an employee is and for both the intern and employer to find out if they are a good cultural match. So, why is it so hard to hire ‘diverse candidates’?

Many job descriptions are ineffective. They do not tell the candidates what they need to know about your organization. A job posting needs to provide three sets of information:

1. What are the job duties?

▪ Is the job description up to date?

▪ When is the last time it has been updated and by who?

▪ Are the job listed duties both accurate and relevant?

Potential candidates will often be dissuaded from applying for a position where the job duties do not match their experience.

2. What are the job qualifications?

▪ Does the candidate really need experience in a particular industry to be able to successfully carry out their job duties?

▪ Does the candidate really need a master’s degree in business administration to schedule conferences?

People will not usually apply for jobs if they do not meet the requirements, such as a specific degree or industry experience.

3. What is it like working at your company?

▪ Do you know what the organizational culture is, particularly in the department or location where the selected candidate will be working? Is the workspace open or are there offices or cubicles?

▪ Is it a highly socialized environment or more isolated?

▪ Is the team interactive or independent?

▪ Are work hours flexible?

Savvy candidates will do research on your organization before applying for a job with you and if their information conflicts with what you state in your ad or website, they may not apply.

Philadelphia – During WWII

Some of my clients have told me that they are successful at attracting and recruiting ‘diverse candidates,’ but they are not successful at getting them hired. ‘Diverse candidates’ are getting rejected at the interview phase of the process. Recruitment professionals who have pre-screened and pre-interviewed candidates are often baffled as to why their candidates are not being hired. There seems to be a challenge developing interview questions that focus on the Bona Fide Occupational Qualifications of a particular position and developing interviewers with a high level of cultural competence. Very few interviewers who I have spoken with are aware of Transferable Skills and their value. For example: If someone is great at planning a meal for 20 people, they can probably handle organizing board meetings or employee events. The skills are the same they are just being applied differently based on the specific need. Another great opportunity for employers to increase the diversity at their organizations is to provide transferable skills workshops for their human resource professionals and any employees who are part of their selection and hiring teams.

Even employers who are committed to increasing the diversity and inclusion at their organizations are sometimes stymied as to how to achieve those goals. Sometimes this results in hiring of ‘diverse candidates’ who may not be fully competent for the position. This creates a couple problems: first, the new hires are set up for failure if they are not fully qualified for the position; second, this reinforces the urban myths surrounding affirmative action. So, I urge you to hire only the most highly qualified candidates for every position that you are filling. I also urge you to reassess the jobs that you are seeking to fill, what they entail, and what someone really needs to know in order to do them well.

Employers invest a great deal of money in the recruitment and hiring process. Fees for search firms are in the many thousands of dollars for each position, and the salaries of HR and other staff when prorated for each new hire brings the investment to quite a high sum. So, how sound is your investment? Are you selecting and hiring the best candidate for the job? Is the job being described in the most effective and honest way possible? Have key members of the selection team been developed to be as competent as possible? If you are confident that the answer to these three questions is yes, BRAVO! If not, isn’t it time to reassess your process?

Onward!

~ Wendy

 

www.inclusionstrategy.com
wendy@inclusionstrategy.com

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width=”198″> People are usually thrilled when they start a new job. The ‘new job feeling’ is not unlike the ‘new date feeling’ or ‘the new car feeling’. It takes most of us a while to decide whether the date will become a mate and if the car is a keeper or a lemon.

Most new jobs have a three month ‘honeymoon’ period, although many people begin to feel disenchanted much sooner than that. On-boarding is the experience that a new employee has when they first come ‘on board’ at an organization. There are many studies that have demonstrated how critical on-boarding is. Large organizations invest billions of dollars in the on-boarding process for orientation sessions, training, lunches, dinners, etc. The success of these investments varies wildly and can determine how long an employee will stay with an organization, how productive and engaged they will be while they are there, and why they will leave.

Three Exclusive On-boarding Experiences:

 

1. A woman from India was recruited for a managerial IT position by a Fortune 50 company located in a rural area of a Southern state in the U.S.. She was a Hindu and a vegetarian. She expressed serious concern about becoming acclimated to her new culture as she had no idea where she might go to worship. The meals provided at the new hire orientation that she attended were inedible as every day only ham and egg on a biscuit was provided for breakfast. It was difficult for her to even find a meatless salad for lunch. She would eat at home early each morning and then not eat again until dinner each evening. Her cultural differences were never considered when she was hired and as a result she resigned within a month of her first day of employment.

This company could have saved a great deal of money, frustration and negative feelings if they had learned about their new employee’s culture during the hiring process and had provided cultural competency and inclusion training to those responsible for the orientation sessions and her on-boarding.

2. During a new hire orientation presentation, a representative of an organization’s Diversity Department pulled up a chair and sat down with his legs spread, one foot straddling his other knee such that the bottom of his shoe was facing the audience of new employees. Then he stood and put one foot on the chair. A few of the participants became visibly uncomfortable and were silent during the Q&A segment of the session. The presenter was at a loss as to the cause for the employees’ shift in engagement.

Even diversity professionals can make cultural gaffs if they are not provided with effective cultural competency education. Showing someone the bottom of your shoe, the lowest and dirtiest part of your body, is considered an insulting message in many Arabic countries. Putting your foot on a chair is considered insulting in some Asian cultures. The presenter thought that he was creating a relaxed atmosphere by using these gestures, but the result had the exact opposite impact. Intent vs. impact is a familiar concept in the field of discrimination that is often overlooked in the ‘softer’ field of diversity, sometimes with serious results.

3. A new manager orientation session included ‘partner’ interviews and introductions. The participants were paired-up and instructed to interview each other, asking 5 key questions, including the name of their favorite sports team. One interviewee told her partner that she was not interested in sports. He asked her where she was from and she replied, “New York City.” When he introduced her as a ‘Yankee Fan’ several other participants booed. She was highly embarrassed and complained to the facilitator at the end of the session who told her that she was overreacting and should not take the booing seriously.

Awareness of regionalism, including the impact of sports rivalries, is an important competency for trainers, especially those trusted to facilitate new hire orientation sessions. A new employee’s relationships are established during their on-boarding and any reinforcement of negative stereotypes can impact their success long afterward by creating barriers in those relationships.

How likely are these valuable new hires to become loyal, long term employees at the organizations described above, based on their on-boarding experiences? People need to be invited or included to really feel that they belong as part of an organization and that invitation must go beyond a job offer. Behaving in an inclusive manner is not necessarily intuitive, as we see with the diversity professional described above. Employees, especially supervisors, managers, and trainers need to be developed to be inclusive leaders with high levels of cultural competency if they are expected to know how to effectively create inclusive on-boarding experiences for new employees.

Why Does This Matter?

As the economy recovers, those who have not felt truly invited to become a part of a successful, innovative team will begin to seek out employers who will make them feel welcomed. Those employers understand that a high level of organizational cultural competency is required if they are to succeed and earn profits. Job seekers, especially ‘millennials’, are doing in-depth research on employers before accepting job offers and those who have negative on-boarding experiences are posting those experiences online. So, after investing a great deal of money in recruitment, hiring and on-boarding high potential employees, are you confident that they are being on-boarded inclusively? If not, isn’t it a good time to make that happen?

Onward!

~ Wendy
Let me know what you think.

wendy@inclusionstrategy.com

 

 

The Evolution of Inclusion

“The Evolution of Inclusion” is an article that I wrote in 2008 and is a tutorial on how the field of inclusion has evolved since I entered the world of EEO in 1988. I have gotten enough feedback on my recent blogs to see that this is still a relevant and necessary discussion, so I hope that you find this post interesting and helpful! This blog post violates one of my rules not to exceed 1000 words, but I wanted to include the article in its entirety (just under 2500 words), for the sake of flow.

 

Onward!

 

~ Wendy

 

In the beginning

 

In the beginning there was Affirmative Action. Affirmative Action was all about making amends for past discriminatory practices in the workplace and the academy. Women and people of color, as well as many others who were not white, heterosexual, Christian males, were historically barred from many jobs in the United States both systemically and institutionally. In 1961 President Kennedy issued Executive Order 10925, which created the Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity and mandated that projects financed “with federal funds ” take affirmative action” to ensure that hiring and employment practices are free of racial bias. It was not until 1965 when President Johnson signed Executive Order 11246 however, that there were actual enforceable actions that needed to be taken. This Executive Order also strengthened the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which expanded protection via Title VII of the Act, to prohibit discrimination by covered employers on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. The Civil Rights Act also changed the Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity into the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, giving it broad legal and administrative powers.

Equal employment opportunity law was the big stick that the government used to assure that employees who were members of “protected classes” (those covered by the Civil Rights Act) were protected once they were hired into positions that were previously not open to them. Affirmative Action includes guidelines for hiring protected class members based on the qualified candidate pool within an employer’s geographic zone (a 30 mile radius). The hiring goals are not quotas and never have been. They are recommendations based on the local population.

Mandatory training was implemented for all covered employers in the area of Sexual Harassment Prevention and for any employer where the EEOC determined that there was a “probable cause” to validate an employee’s claim of discriminatory treatment. This reactionary approach dominated the field of EEO for many years and resulted in a strong backlash by conservative groups and many white men in the workplace. Reverse discrimination claims began being filed as early as 1978 (Regents of the University of California v. Bakke) and have become fairly regular occurrences. There was also a great deal of negative media regarding affirmative action and EEO cases in an attempt to de-fang the law and its enforcement.

One of the greatest barriers to accepting the benefits of inclusion is a fear of numbers. Many myths and misperceptions surround the reporting of EEO data and Affirmative Action reports to the federal government. Employers conduct panic-stricken scrambles every time they are audited by the EEOC; they agonize over their Affirmative Action reports and their poor performance in relation to their hiring goals; and they focus on the very numbers that terrify them instead of the people they represent. This sense of impotence creates resentment and results in an attitude that we will do only what we are required to do in many organizations. They felt trapped by the EEOC requirements and not empowered to do anything about them.

The Diversity Revolution

We then experienced the ‘diversity revolution’ a period I like to refer to as the “Kumbaya Stage.” Celebrating difference became the favorite pastime of many members of organizations. People like me were able to proclaim pride in our heritage, our difference – ourselves as were never able to do previously. But after the diversity pot luck luncheons and diversity fairs, people would head back to their cubicles and remain exclusive. The celebration of difference did not extend to most employees’ personal lives. The human resources departments did not see any relief from their required reports or a great improvement in their statistics. These disappointments coupled with the negative response from employees who felt that they were not different enough to matter resulted in campaigns set out to prove that ‘our differences make us all the same.’ This approach played down race and gender and focused on less volatile differences such as job title, geographic origin (among U.S. born citizens), marital status, parental status, etc. These non-threatening differences could be used benignly, to prove that an organization embraced diversity, without having to really embrace inclusion.

Diversity practitioners across the U.S. were then asked by their CEOs, “What’s the return on our investment for diversity? This resulted in more panicked scrambling as folks set out to prove that creating a diverse organization improved the organization’s bottom line. The problem with this model is that it does not work and that there was no such proof to be provided.

The More Things Change

The more things change, the more they remained the same. A major concern of U.S. employers is poor employee engagement. There are millions of people who make it to work each day, even millions who arrive on time who are still quite disengaged. These workers occupy all job titles and levels, including officers. They are in every sector and industry. They are from several different generations. They are from all over the world. They are straight and gay; male and female; of every race and ethnicity; and they cost employers trillions of dollars every day. Employers spend an inordinate amount of money and energy to recruit top talent. They especially spend on the recruitment of women and people of color. Employers have, in general, become quite successful at recruitment, but remain unsuccessful at retention. A phenomenon has developed in the last decade or so that is referred to as ‘the Revolving Door of Turnover.’ This has become a The 64 billion dollar question.

In January, 2007 The Level Playing Field Institute published The Corporate Leavers Survey: The Cost of Employee Turnover Due Solely to Unfairness in the Workplace. The study found that unfairness in the workplace costs U.S. corporations $64 billion dollars each year – not in law suits – but in turnover of professionals and managers. People of color are three times as likely to be among those who leave as compared to white, heterosexual men and two times as compared to white, heterosexual women.

Marketing Diversity

When the 2000 Census Report was published organizations became aware of a new customer base. People of Color, Gay, Lesbian Transgender and Bisexual people, Women, people born in foreign countries were entering an unprecedented period of prosperity. Smart corporations began marketing diversity. We could turn on any television channel and see flawless models representing organizations that looked beautifully diverse! Benetton led the movement way back in the 1980s with gorgeous young people wearing their trendy clothing. Their motto “The United Colors of Benetton,” became a generational celebration of diversity. Gradually, other organizations caught on and began targeting women and people of color who now had the buying dollars that they sought. One problem remained; the beautiful ads were not of actual employees. This was particularly glaring when looking at the leaders of organizations. According to a UC Davis Study of California Women Business Leaders (October 2007) women hold only 10.4% of the board seats and highest-paid executive officer positions in the top 400 corporations in California. The national average is 15%. Women remain more than 50% (50.9 in 2000) of the population.

The Inclusion Evolution

“As individuals we can accomplish only so much. … Collectively, we face no such constraint. We possess incredible capacity to think differently. These differences can provide the seeds of innovation, progress, and understanding.”

The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools and Societies, Scott E. Page

Scott Page’s book provides us with scientific proof of the brilliance of multiple perspectives. This is something that I have intuitively known for a long time, but am really grateful for the backing of a mathematician! I do not believe that ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’ unless they are bad cooks or bad communicators. There is always the possibility that there is an unethical cook in the kitchen who sneaks in extra salt without letting the others know, but if called upon to create the world’s best broth everyone wants to be invited! By this, I mean that it would be an honor to be on the ‘A List’ of cooks for this project. The cooks would all vie to bring their most creative, their most engaged selves to the process. If they were told that their participation was predicated on their cooperation and in fact interdependence with the other cooks, they would pay attention to that fact and learn how to play well with others or be asked to leave. In other words, every one of us wants to be asked to make a difference, to be told that our presence matters, that our contribution is needed. What an amazing feeling it is to matter. Yet, few employers ever asked their employees to contribute to their innovation. Few employers ask their employees many questions at all for fear of invoking the evil God of EEO! This fear of asking questions results in a phenomenon I call “One third of the tree.” When I look out of the window and see a beautiful tree, let’s say a Willow tree and I decide that the Willow tree is exactly the addition that I need to make my organization truly diverse, I contact my top recruiter to go and get that tree. I do research on the care and feeding of Willow trees. I tell the other members of the organization that our team will be joined by a Willow tree and to be courteous and tolerant and never say offensive things such as “It’s not easy being green.” Then the recruiter goes out and chops down that tree and hauls it inside. We place it in a huge bucket and every day are diligent about adding nutrients and even throw in a few microorganisms to make the tree feel at home. What we do not realize is that we are missing two-thirds of that tree. We never thought to ask the tree to bring its history and cultural perspective to the organization and so it did not. We did not realize how our organization could benefit by knowing the full being. Another way to look at this is: I bring my gender, generation, class, ethnic and racial perspectives with me when invited to the board room table to contribute. These perspectives cannot be simulated by others who read about people like me. They can only be contributed by me. Isn’t that amazingly wonderful?

Organisms thrive because their parts are thriving. When an organism has cancer we cut it out or the organism will die. Yet, many organizations exist with dead and dangerous departments, units and individuals for years without taking any action. The whole is only as healthy as its parts. So, just as we need to get to know the whole individual in order to benefit fully by their contributions, we need to think about organizations as organisms that require inclusive care in order to thrive.

Practical Steps

The first step to becoming truly inclusive requires practical steps beginning with the development of a strategic plan that holds everymember of the organization responsible for creating an inclusive environment. This plan needs to be created with the input of the CEO or equivalent and leadership from all areas across the organization or else it will fail. This plan also needs to support the organization’s mission and goals or it will fail. As our world changes at an increasingly rapid pace, this plan needs to be flexible and adaptable or it will fail. These are not very difficult requirements to meet if the planners remember to be inclusive in the process from the very beginning and remember that they are all interdependent for its success.

Step two requires a cultural assessment of the organization: Who are you as an organization? Where have you come from? What has been initiated regarding diversity in the past and what has the response been? What education has been provided and how effective has it been. Great tools to employ at this point are confidential surveys and interviews. If people feel really safe they will tell you the truth about their experiences within an organization. If they do not they will not.

Step three is to develop customized inclusion education for each level of the organization. This education needs to employ adult education theory as no employee enters the training room as a tabula rasa. Everyone brings a wealth of experiences, knowledge, ideas and again, perspective to the process. This needs to be given a great deal of attention and respect. The core of the education should focus on the following: “How do I benefit by being truly inclusive?”

Step four actually is step one through five – constant communication. Tell them what you are going to do, tell them what you are doing and tell them what you have done. This is the only way to assure support for the process and again, without this it will fail. Communication needs to be customized for employees, clients, board members, stock holders, the public and et al.

Step five is the establishment of support mechanisms for without them your inclusion strategy will fail. In addition to regular, ongoing education and communication organizations need ‘Inclusion Ambassadors’ to champion the importance of inclusion. These ambassadors may be members of an organization’s diversity councils or affinity groups and should receive special education on inclusion theory, communication, team building, project management and leadership. The ‘Inclusion Ambassadors’ of an organization might sponsor event, write articles, provide training, develop outreach projects in the community and more. They will become the face of inclusion of your organization and as such should be representative of many titles, locations, and functions as well as being culturally diverse. Another great support mechanism is cross-cultural mentoring. Cross-cultural mentoring may be part of a general mentoring program establish by the organization with specific mentoring on cultural topics or interests. For example, I might be a mentor on Puerto Rican culture and have a mentor on time management. Participants should receive training on mentoring and be clear on the expectations of the program.

Results driven organizations whether in the public, non-profit or private sectors can benefit by creating True Inclusion© through an increase in retention of the best and brightest employees; the development of future leaders and viable succession plans that assure the continuation of an organizations’ success; an exponential increase in innovation and market share by involving every member of an organization in the creative process and hence an organization that thrives in spite of rapidly changing circumstances. This process does not have to be difficult. One of the barriers to organizations becoming inclusive is the myth that this is a difficult and arduous process. Nothing can be easier than inviting people to be part of their own promotion and success! It is this simple: the inclusion of all members of an organization in that organization’s success results in an organization that thrives!

Wendy Amengual Wark May 2008

Inclusion Strategy Solutions LLC

wendy@inclusionstrategy.com

 

The Process, Part 1: Inclusive Recruitment Is NOT Affirmative Action!

As it is early in the year, I thought it would be interesting to start delineating some inclusion strategies in chronological order, in terms of an employer’s relationship with an employee. Recruitment marks the beginning of every relationship between employer and employee, think of the first accidental glance across a room exchanged with someone who later becomes a friend. Employers are recruiting all of the time without being aware of it: manufacturers are recruiting every time they advertise their products; non-profits are recruiting when they ask people to donate or volunteer for their cause, and governments are recruiting when they send their employees out to serve the public. If people like what they see or hear or taste or use they may think about joining those who helped to create their positive experience.

Word of Mouth

Many employers give their employees a financial reward if they refer someone who is hired by the company. Employee referrals are highly valued, especially in the for-profit sector as the data is impressive in terms of employee retention rates for employee referral new hires. Governments have much lower turn-over rates than the private and non-profit sectors, but increasingly are modeling their management styles on the private sector, including paying bonuses to high performing employees and terminating those who do not meet the standards established for their function. This means that government employers are also paying more attention to recruiting high-potential employees. The greatest source of information about an organization is its employees. If they are unhappy, they let people outside of the organization know. There is a great website, glassdoor (www.glassdoor.com), which posts anonymous employee ratings of employers. Savvy job hunters go there before applying for jobs. People who have left companies telling their exit interviewer, “I have a better opportunity elsewhere,” tend to be more honest with their friends and on websites such as glassdoor. Employers would be well advised to visit this and other sites to find out what people are saying about them, and more importantly, to use that information to improve their employee relations.

Diversity Attracts Diversity

We, in the diversity field used to worry that employee referrals limited the diversity of new hires, but not anymore. Well, not if you already have some diversity. “Diverse” employees (people of color, LGBT employees, people with disabilities, etal) will refer employees like themselves, just as white, male, heterosexual employees will do. Sometimes, employees will refer candidates who are not from their affinity group, but people primarily refer candidates who are similar to themselves. So, the more diverse your employees are, the more diverse their candidate referrals will be. This will also have a positive impact on your employee retention rates as the ‘diverse’ new hires will have an easier time adapting to an organizational culture that is diverse not only in its representation, but also in its innovation. Employers that are intentionally inclusive get real bonuses as they get the attention of ‘high potential candidates’.

Inclusive Recruitment is NOT Affirmative Action!

Inclusive recruitment welcomes stellar employees – regardless of their affinity group affiliation. Talented people come in all races, nationalities, ethnic groups, orientations and abilities. So, if you want to hire ambitious, highly talented people, invite them intentionallyto contribute to your organization. There has been a great deal of buzz (not to be confused with buzz words) regarding “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) and the lack of diversity among the actors on the show. SNL’s management responded to a great deal of negative press regarding the stark absence of diversity at the season’s kick off by hiring Sasheer Zamata, an African-American woman. This process took about three months and is the first time in six years that there will be an African American woman on the SNL cast, which is interesting considering that Lorne Michaels, the top executive on the show said in an October interview with The Associated Press, “It’s not like it’s not a priority for us, it [hiring black women], will happen. I’m sure it will happen.” The announcement this week that Ms. Zamata was joining the cast has been met with a flurry of comments on both sides of the diversity debate. I have been thinking about how much pressure she will experience as those who are cynical of the process of creating an inclusive workforce think of her as an ‘affirmative action hire’. If she is not incredibly entertaining and hilarious during every single skit that she is in, she will be vilified by those skeptics. The writers of the skits, the director, the other actors, will not be subject to the same scrutiny. Ms. Zamata’s qualifications and expertise in her field will not be held up as evidence for hiring her. She will have to rise above the haters and their words and remember – just like all of the other cast members at SNL – she has managed to beat the odds and get selected to be on show. Many employers talk about how creating a diverse workforce is a priority, but few take intentional, strategic action to make it happen.

The Good News

The good news is that any organization, regardless of their history in terms of recruitment can become an inclusive recruiting organization! A great first step is conducting an anonymous employee survey. Many employers are reluctant to do this for two reasons: 1. They may not like what they hear (and this makes those in the legal department very nervous). 2. They may not feel ready to implement the changes that employees recommend. The executive team of your organization would be wise to honestly and openly discuss the possibility of improving your organizational inclusion by doing some real assessment of your current workforce. If you are satisfied with your employees’ performance and engagement and diversity and retention and development and succession – KUDOS! If not, isn’t it about time that you do make it a priority?

Onward!

~ Wendy

wendy@inclusionstrategy.com

www.inclusionstrategy.com

 

Wishing You a Year Filled with Diversity and Inclusion!

NYC July 4, 2012, C. Wark
In my last blog entry I asked, “What’s in a word?” I examined words used in hateful, specifically racist ways. Now, as we begin a new year, our thoughts tend to focus on how we want this year to be an improvement over last year. We wish each other good health, prosperity, happiness, and peace. Being in the diversity and inclusion business, I wish people greater diversity and inclusion. These two words do not come without their own baggage. The word diversity is rife with double entendres for those who resist inclusion and is sometimes misused as code for ‘workplace representation quotas’ or ‘political correctness.’
New York Botanical Garden
W. Wark, 2012
Diversity
Why am I wishing you a year filled with diversity? Well, first, I would think that without diversity your year might be pretty boring. In wishing you a diverse year, I am wishing you more diversity in terms of your experiences, thoughts, and relationships. This may seem incredibly simple and obvious; however, many people still cling to old, familiar ways out of habit and sometimes this means sustaining an ‘us and them’ culture. How many times, for example have you heard someone say something like, “If it were not for those people …?” People would likely find other things to cling to, in terms of their personal comfort and assigning blame if their engagement with diversity increased, but the more diverse people’s relationships are the more likely they are to accept different opinions, ideas and lifestyles. So I wish you an incredibly diverse year!
Inclusion
Why wish you inclusion? Well, being inclusive requires an action on your behalf. One cannot sit at home and expect inclusion to come to them. It may in very, very small ways, such as the person delivering the Thai food who is from Guatemala. But, we would not know where the person was from without asking them as they would not be likely to volunteer that information. So, we need to be proactive if we are to be inclusive. There is so much that we can learn, enjoy, and gain by extending invitations. I hope that you are reaching out and inviting inclusion into your life!
History
Throughout these blog entries I have carried a thread, or a theme. I am always wondering how to take this complicated and rather arduous subject of diversity and inclusion and break it down into digestible segments or bites, but more than sound bites, I am trying to nurture thoughts and discussion about sensitive and challenging subjects. I believe that we can only move forward if we explore and respond to our past. Reading history and checking a box or filing away the information without learning from it or applying what we have learned to the present is, in my humble opinion, worse than not learning at all. What if a doctor studied biology, but forgot most of what they learned? Would you want to be treated by that doctor? No! Similarly, we all live in a complex world with relationships made even more complicated by our history. This is why I take an educational approach to diversity and inclusion and have provided you with historic context through this blog.
School of Athens, Raphael
Fresco (1509-1510)
Rhetoric
I want to discuss one other word – rhetoric. Rhetoric or buzz words tend to dominate the sound bites about diversity and inclusion. When I think of the word rhetoric, I often think of the word bluster, which is really the opposite of the original meaning of rhetoric – which Aristotle taught us was the art of persuasion through the development of arguments based on logic. Bluster on the other hand, is loud, pushy, empty talk. Those who use bluster to distract us from the main argument and point of discourse or rhetoric are often successful, at least in the short term. Rhetoric has become commonly used to mean exaggeration, or hyperbole, using words that lack substantive meaning. I usually begin educational workshops by asking the participants to define diversity and inclusion. The results are often fascinating. These two simple words – diversity and inclusion – represent a wide range of things to people, sometimes emotionally charged things. So, as I have stated for years, words matter. Words are actions – actions that have meaning for us. We need to develop a common vocabulary where the meaning of words is understood by all parties; then we can begin to have constructive conversations about difference.
Organizations need to do more than recruit diverse candidates, such as create inclusion strategies if they are to experience organizational change that is reflective of our society as a whole. Our society as a whole, whether locally, regionally, nationally or globally, needs to take assertive action if diversity is to become recognized as the precious commodity that it is. The transition to an inclusive world begins with you and with me. This may sound like rhetoric, but having witnessed and benefited by the words of individuals such as Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Sojourner Truth, I know that my argument is sound.
So, I wish you all things wonderful in this New Year, especially diversity and inclusion!
Onward!
~ Wendy
Please let me know what you think of this entry.
If you cannot comment directly on this blog, please do so via twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or email me.
 

What’s In A Word?

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me.”
 
My mother, like many mothers of children who were ostracized and tormented for being different, used this expression to assuage us – to no avail. We still got into physical fights with the kids in our building who called us the S-word and other Hate Words because our father was Puerto Rican.
 
One hundred years earlier, in March of 1862 the phrase was cited in “The Christian Recorder” of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, (Which was first published in New York City in 1852).
 
“Remember the old adage, ‘Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me’. True courage consists in doing what is right, despite the jeers and sneers of our companions.” [http://www.phrases.org.uk/]
 
There are too many commonly used Hate-Words: African Americans are called the N-word, Italian Americans, the W-word, Chinese Americans, the C-word, Vietnamese Americans, the G-word and many more than I care to list in this short blog entry. (If you need me to spell-out or explain any of the phrases listed above please email me.)
 
In the 1980s, when I first began to develop sexual harassment prevention education, I cautioned participants that words are actions and may lead to an escalation of inappropriate and illegal behavior from verbal to physical if not addressed by someone in authority. Bullying of any kind must be dealt with directly by teachers, supervisors and CEOs.
 
The R-Word
Cody Blackbird
This sign appeared this morning (12/08/13)
outside a Sonic Drive-In Restaurant in Belton, Missouri.
Read more at Indian Country Today
I have long been deeply perturbed by the usage of the derogatory R-word as the name of an American football team based in our nation’s capital. The team that was originally the Boston Braves when it was established in 1932, became the Boston Redskins a year later (1933–1936), then moved to Washington D.C. in 1937 where they still go by that same offensive name.
 
 
Perhaps not coincidental to the name is the fact that in 1962, Washington was the last American football team to integrate racially and they did so only after the federal government threatened to sue the owners as D.C. stadium, where they played at the time, was U.S. property and so segregation was illegal there.
 
I strongly urge everyone to stop using the R-word entirely.
 
 
The K-Word:
Etymonline.com provides the history of another insidious hate word:
 
“1790, from Arabic kafir “unbeliever, infidel, impious wretch,” with a literal sense of “one who does not admit the blessings of God,” from kafara “to cover up, conceal, deny, blot out.” Technically, “non-Muslim,” but in Ottoman times it came to be used almost exclusively for “Christian.” Early English missionaries used it as an equivalent of “heathen” to refer to Bantus in South Africa (1792), from which use it came generally to mean “South African black” regardless of ethnicity [African or Indian], and to be a term of abuse since at least 1934.”
 
How many times did Nelson Mandela hear the K-word used as a weapon against himself and others? How many times did he have to rise above unimaginable abuse to move from victim to victor, from one of many of the oppressed to a global symbol for freedom and human rights?
 

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”
Nelson Mandela

World Human Rights Day

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948 as a result of the atrocities committed during the Second World War.The Commission on Human Rights was made up of 18 members from various political, cultural and religious backgrounds. Eleanor Roosevelt, widow of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, chaired the UDHR drafting committee.
 
Universal Values
The core principles of human rights first set out in the UDHR are universality, interdependence and indivisibility, equality and non-discrimination. The Declaration begins:
 
“Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,”
 
What’s In A Word?
Native American tribal leaders have been appealing to the owners of the football team with the racist and derogatory name in an attempt to get them to change the team’s name by offering alternative names. Their appeals continue to fall on deaf ears. What words do the owners need to hear to understand how the R-word is an assault not only on Native Americans, but on all of us who value people’s inherent dignity?
 
Nelson Mandela did not transform South Africa from a nation crippled by Apartheid to a democracy for all of its citizens alone. He did not employ violence to achieve this lofty goal. He used words and his incredible capacity to listen – to the oppressed as well as their oppressors. In order for Nelson Mandela to talk to others in their language he had to learn their language by listening. Once he mastered that language he was able to use it to effectively dismantle a hateful and criminal system.
 
To move from hatred to recognizing our shared humanity – to move from Hate-words to a humanitarian language – is a lofty goal. It is incredibly fortunate for all of us that we have had role models such as former President Nelson Mandela to remind us that, however lofty they may be, our goals are achievable if we are optimistic enough to believe in them. Words can be transformed from weapons to tools for learning about and loving one another. This fairly simple concept is at the core of the work to create and sustain inclusive environments, work places, communities, and nations.
 
It is critical that we engage in conversations that may initially be uncomfortable, but in the long term can help us to understand how we have much more in common with one another than we think. It is fitting that on World Human Rights Day tens of thousands of people, including leaders from around the world gathered to honor and celebrate the life of one of our greatest humanitarians, Nelson Mandela.
 
Onward,
 
~ Wendy
 
 

The Women’s Empowerment Principles: Equality Means Business

I want to let you know about some of the great work that the UN is doing to advance women’s equity in the workplace and beyond, and about an amazing and dedicated woman who is helping to make our world a better place, one woman at a time!
Thanks to a recent U.N. initiative, businesses worldwide now have guidelines that spell out seven principles that create a gender equitable workplace environment. In just three years since its inception, 664 companies in 51 countries have signed “The 7 Women’s Empowerment Principles” (WEP). The WEP document offers standards about how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community.
In March of this year, 5 companies from around the world received the inaugural WEPs Leadership Awards at the annual “Equity Means Business” event in New York City. Nominations are now being reviewed for 2014. Before I list the principles and tell you about the amazing Turkish woman we are supporting for a WEP award, here’s a brief background of how the award originated.

Background

In 1995 I was privileged to travel to Beijing, China with representatives of 180 New York City-based women’s organizations. We were among 17,000 supporters of women’s rights who were in China for the United Nations’ Fourth World Conference on Women. I was the Acting Executive Director of the New York City Commission on the Status of Women (NYC CSW) at the time. The NYC CSW sponsored four workshops for the NGO Forum in Beijing on the subjects of outreach, education, domestic violence, and sexual harassment. The outcome of that conference was the “Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action,” a 132-page document detailing a commitment to women’s equity that was adopted by all 189 countries in attendance. One of the results of that declaration was the eventual establishment in 2010 of UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/beijing/platform/

The 7 Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEP)

The Women’s Empowerment Principles (subtitled “Equality Means Business”) are the result of collaboration between the UN Women and the United Nations Global Compact. They are adapted from the Calvert Women’s Principles®. The development of the WEPs included an international multi-stakeholder consultation process, which began in March 2009 and culminated in their launch on International Women’s Day in March 2010. http://www.weprinciples.org/
1 Establish high-level corporate leadership for gender equality
2 Treat all women and men fairly at work –
respect and support human rights and nondiscrimination
3 Ensure the health, safety and well-being of all women and men workers
4 Promote education, training and professional development for women
5 Implement enterprise development, supply chain and marketing
practices that empower women
6 Promote equality through community initiatives and advocacy
7 Measure and publicly report on progress to achieve gender equality

WEP Leadership Awards

The WEP Leadership Awards salute business leaders for their exceptional championship of gender equality and support for the Women’s Empowerment Principles. Some weeks ago, my partners Tresa Eyres and Nebahat Nebahat Timur Tokgöz, and I were discussing the WEP Leadership Awards and one organization in particular came to mind: B-fit.
B-fit is Turkey’s first chain of women-only gyms. It was founded in 2006 by Ms. Bedriye Hülya. B-fit does more than promote physical health. It is a women-owned and operated business that implements WEP principles and raises gender equality by: (1) promoting women’s entrepreneurship, (2) increasing women’s employment, (3) improving the health of women through exercise and education, and (4) providing a safe and supportive environment that increases women’s self-esteem and social well-being.
B-fit’s 230 franchises and services are available to women of all ages and socio-economic levels in many geographic regions in Turkey. B-fit engages its franchisees and customers in developing social projects that benefit communities in the 48 cities, large and small, that it serves. We are incredibly impressed by B-fit’s mission and vision:
B-fit’s mission is

 

  • To enable women at every age group and income level to develop the habit of engaging in sports activities as a way of helping them increase their physical and mental powers
  • To increase the power of women in their economic lives by promoting women’s entrepreneurship and creating employment for women
  • To motivate and enable women to create and engage in social activities and community projects and to increase their awareness about their own lives and environment

 

B-fit’s vision is

 

  • To create a platform where women can freely use their power to create a better world for themselves, their families, and their communities
  • To grow by giving women the opportunity to exercise and to learn and practice business, entrepreneurship, and life skills
  • To create a platform where women can become more aware of their own lives and environments and use their power to be equal with men
Ms. Hülya’s passion for helping women and her commitment to advancing equity are contagious! Upon learning about the WEP Awards, she enthusiastically signed the WEP CEO Statement of Support – bringing the total number of Turkish Corporations to 16. [The total number of U.S. corporations that have signed is: 17.] One of the B-fit partners submitted the nomination of Ms. Hülya for a WEP award in the “Community Engagement” category.
We now eagerly await the judges’ decisions.
To learn more, please visit the WEP and B-fit websites!
Onward!
~ Wendy
 

A Brief History of U.S. Women’s Rights

Some friends have asked me to provide a brief history of women’s rights in the United States. I am tempted to reminisce about my own involvement with the women’s movement, but that is not the assignment. This kind of exercise is always a good opportunity to review, remember and assess how far we have come while remaining mindful that we do not have full equity yet. As one trained as a historian, I really should not call this a ‘history’ or even a ‘brief history’ when it is more accurately a timeline. This is certainly not an exhaustive timeline, so I have included links to websites that provide more in-depth information. I am not going to editorialize or share my opinion or feelings about anything listed here – this blog post is strictly an informative entry. Should you learn something new, that would be great. If you have any questions about anything here, please let me know. OK, I think that I have covered all of the disclaimers and explanations, so let’s go!
1776 Abigail Adams writes to her husband, John Adams who represented the Colony of Massachusetts at the Continental Congress on March 31:

 

“I long to hear that you have declared an independency. And, by the way, in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors.” http://www.nwhm.org/education-resources/biography/biographies/abigail-smith-adams/

1776 United States Declaration of Independence is signed on July 4th. http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html

1787 US Constitutional Convention places voting qualifications in the hands of the states. Women in all states except New Jersey lose the right to vote. http://www1.cuny.edu/portal_ur/content/voting_cal/the_constitution.html
1807 Women lose the right to vote in New Jersey, the last state to revoke the right.
1848 The acknowledged start of the FIRST WAVE of Feminism.
The first women’s rights convention takes place in Seneca Falls, New York. Participants sign a Declaration of Sentiments that call for equal treatment and voting rights for women. http://www.nps.gov/wori/historyculture/report-of-the-womans-rights-convention.htm
1851 Former slave Sojourner Truth: http://www.nps.gov/wori/historyculture/sojourner-truth.htm Delivers her speech, “Ain’t I A Woman?” At the Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio:
Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that ‘twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what’s all this here talking about?

 

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?

 

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what’s this they call it? [member of audience whispers, “intellect”] That’s it, honey. What’s that got to do with women’s rights or negroes’ rights? If my cup won’t hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn’t you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?

 

Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ’cause Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

 

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

 

Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain’t got nothing more to say.
1866 Congress passes the 14th Amendment, which grants all citizens the right to vote. It is the first time that “citizens” and “voters” are defined as “male” in the Constitution. http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_amendments_11-27.html
1869 Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton form the National Woman Suffrage Association, while Lucy Stone and others form the American Woman Suffrage Association. http://www.nwhm.org/education-resources/biography/biographies/susan-brownell-anthony/
1896 The National Association of Colored Women is formed out of more than 100 black women’s clubs. http://www.nacwc.org/
1916 Margaret Sanger opens the first American birth control clinic in Brooklyn, NY. Within ten days, the clinic is shut down and Sanger is arrested. She eventually wins legal support and opens another clinic in 1923. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Sanger
1920 Congress passes the 19th Amendment, granting women suffrage. [Suffrage is the right to vote in a national election.] It passes in the Senate by only two votes. http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_amendment_19.html
1942 The term “Rosie the Riveter” was first used in a song of the same name written by Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb. http://www.nps.gov/pwro/collection/website/rosie.htm
1945 Millions of working women lose their jobs when servicemen return from World War II, although surveys show that 80 percent want to continue working.
1960 The acknowledged beginning of the SECOND WAVE of feminism.
1963 Betty Friedan writes The Feminine Mystique. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_suffrage_in_the_United_States
1964 Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race and sex. http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/titlevii.cfm
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is established to investigate discrimination complaints. http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/civil-rights-act/
1966 The National Organization for Women (NOW) is founded. http://www.now.org/
1968 The EEOC rules that sex-segregated help wanted ads are illegal, a ruling later upheld by the Supreme Court. http://www1.eeoc.gov//laws/practices/index.cfm?renderforprint=1
Shirley Chisholm is the first black woman elected to Congress. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shirley_Chisholm
The National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) is founded. http://www.naral.org/
1970 The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution is written by Shulamith Firestone http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dialectic_of_Sex
Sisterhood is Powerful, edited by Robin Morgan http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sisterhood_is_Powerful
Sexual Politics is written by Kate Millett http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_Politics
1972 The ERA is passed by Congress and sent to states for ratification. http://www.equalrightsamendment.org/congress.htm
Title IX bans sex discrimination in schools. http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/cor/coord/titleix.php
The Supreme Court rules that the right to privacy includes an unmarried person’s right to use contraceptives. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eisenstadt_v._Baird
Ms. Magazine is first published. http://www.msmagazine.com/
1973 In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court legalizes abortion and overturns anti-abortion laws in many states. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roe_v._Wade
1974 The Equal Credit Opportunity Act prohibits discrimination in consumer credits practices. http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/hce/housing_ecoa.php
1976 The first marital rape law passes in Nebraska, making it illegal for a husband to rape his wife.
1978 The Pregnancy Discrimination Act passes, banning employment discrimination against pregnant women. http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/pregnancy.cfm
The Female Eunuch is written by Germaine Greer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Female_Eunuch
1981 Sandra Day O’Conner is the first woman ever appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Ruth Bader Ginsberg joins her in 1993.
1986 The Supreme Court rules that sexual harassment is a form of illegal job discrimination. http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0477_0057_ZO.html
1990 The acknowledged beginning of the THIRD WAVE of feminism.
1993 The Family and Medical Leave Act goes into effect, allowing women workers to take employment leave after giving birth. http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/
1994 The Violence Against Women act increases services for rape and domestic violence victims, as well as federal penalties for sex offenders. http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/vawa_factsheet.pdf
2009 Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act signed by President Obama eliminating the statute of limitations on claims of violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 pay equity clause. http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/epa_ledbetter.cfm
More Information:
National Women’s History Project http://www.nwhp.org/
New York Times Comparative Timeline US History / Women’s History http://www.nytimes.com/library/magazine/millennium/m2/wolf-timeline.html
National Parks Service, Women’s Suffrage History http://home.nps.gov/wori/historyculture/womens-suffrage-history-timeline.htm
Onward,
~ Wendy
 

There is NOT an APP for that!

What came first..?
A few weeks ago I received an email through LinkedIn asking me if I had a few minutes to chat with a fellow who is selling an app that would provide inclusion education for employees.  He claimed that at least one university was already using the alpha or beta version of this app.  He was asking for my input regarding his intention to expand his business into the public and private sectors.
My reply: “I believe that the computer and social media are incredible tools that can augment and enhance effective diversity and inclusion education, but are not sufficient on their own in this very sensitive area.”  He responded that they plan to offer blended education using a coach and online modules. I wonder how you can develop and test such an app before you check in with the subject matter experts.
 

Effective Education

In 1990 I set out to develop sexual harassment prevention and EEO (equal employment opportunity) education that would make a difference.  I was working at an organization that had a very low percentage of women and the mandatory aspect of the sexual harassment prevention and EEO education did not go over very well with most employees. I needed to reach my audience within the first 5 minutes of the workshops or I would lose them entirely.  So, I designed interactive exercises that got people talking right away, instead of torturing them with a slow, painful recitation of EEO laws facilitated through death by Power Point.
Many people approached me at the end of the sessions and thanked me, often hugged me and told me that they – frequently the same employees who had approached me four hours earlier, saying that they did not have time to waste sitting in this class –thought the session could be longer. They had more questions and wanted to do more brain-storming with the other participants. That they had actually had FUN! 

Can you relate?

I am not sharing this with you because I need to brag about my accomplishments.  I am sharing this with you because it is important to understand how critical it is that education in this sensitive and dangerous – yes, dangerous – subject matter is facilitated by someone who really knows the subject and how to reach the participants. That means that effectiveEEO, diversity and inclusion education is interactive and considers the fact that everyone in the room has strong feelings about discrimination and has had a myriad of experiences that result in the development of personal lenses of filters.  Diversity and EEO education is not the same as training someone how to use their cell phone.  This education is about relationships and so, the participants need to practice relating. 

When I used the word organism in my article, “The Evolution of Inclusion,” I was not using it as a metaphor. Organizations are comprised of people, not widgets and so I recommend that we take a more human approach to educating members of organizations about preventing sexual harassment, the history and laws pertaining to discrimination and EEO, diversity theory, and the value of creating an inclusive environment.  This recommendation is not based on legal requisites or on the fact that discriminatory behavior is not nice, it is based on the fact that people need other people in order to do their jobs successfully. In other words, people – all people – are interdependent.

What difference does difference make?
I know, I keep bringing up that word, interdependent, but it is the right word to use.  We are interdependent and if you have ever participated in team building sessions, you know that interdependence is at the core of those efforts.  I do not hear enough about this in discussions on diversity and inclusion.  We hear a great deal of discussion about ‘them’ and how ‘they’ are not doing whatever it is that we want them to do, (who ever ‘they’ are).  Well, let’s help people to discover their interdependence and then perhaps they will become independent from their fears of ‘them’!
 

This can only be achieved through interactive exercises that help people to experience change.  Perhaps they will experience a change of heart, or a change of attitude or a change of opinion.  This is always my goal when I prepare educational sessions for clients.  How might I help the participants to learn how they see others?  How might I help the people in the room to understand that different is only different, not better or worse, necessarily? (For example, I like chocolate and cheese – both a bit too much.) My ultimate goal, however is to help people to understand that different is better. Being around difference is better for us.  It makes us smarter, more interesting and more creative.  Difference makes us more aware of ourselves, not in a self-conscious way, but in a self-celebratory way.  Difference is delicious and beautiful and fun!  And there is not an app for that!


Onward,

~ Wendy
 

Announcing the Inclusion Strategy Solutions LLC Partnership

Nebahat Timur Tokgöz
I am thrilled to announce the addition of two partners to assist me in leading Inclusion Strategy Solutions LLC to greater heights of collaboration and success!
It is my honor to be associated with these dynamic, exceptional, and visionary women – Tresa Eyres and Nebahat Timur Tokgöz. Collectively they add a wealth of knowledge and experience, competency, and professionalism to Inclusion Strategy Solutions LLC. They each also bring something even more valuable to me:Passion with a purpose.
Inclusion Strategy Solutions LLC was founded on the principle that all people are valuable and hence, should be valued. Tresa and Nebahat have given tirelessly, through their careers and pro bono endeavors, to achieve that mission. Nebahat has also developed a rare gift of painting as a further means of expressing her passion for people and the creative process. Our diverse backgrounds and complementary skills and experiences will provide our clients with greater opportunity to strategically create success through inclusion!
Please join me in welcoming Tresa and Nebahat to Inclusion Strategy Solutions LLC!
Tresa Eyres, Partner Tresa

Tresa is a learning and development professional with more than 25 years helping clients improve their leadership and productivity. In the years 1994 through 2001, she was a key member of Bank of America Advisory Services, Inc., which provided on-site consulting to a number of financial institutions in Turkey.

 

Nebahat Timur Tokgöz, PartnerNebahat

Nebahat is a seasoned business professional with more than 30 years of demonstrated success. At a time in Turkey when few women held executive office, Nebahat was one of the first female Assistant General Managers of a financial institution and the first (non-family) female member of a Board of Directors.

 

16 September 2013